HoopsHype.com Interviews

Shawn Marion: "Only one small forward is averaging 18 and 10"
by Steven Koek / March 31, 2002

You missed your first game of the year due to back spasms last week. How is it feeling?

Shawn Marion: It’s all right… It’s a little sore but I’m all right… It happened because I think I tried to overdo it one day in the weight room.

Rough season for the team overall, what positives can you take to move forward from here?

SM: We’re just trying to finish the season real strong right now so we can start off fresh next year. We can finish the season off [with a winning streak], we might even make the playoffs, you never know.

How about a .500 season, you need to go 8-2 the rest of the way?

SM: Definitely. That’s what we’re shooting for right now.

This is a young talented team that starts with you, Stephon Marbury and Joe Johnson, plus the team has three draft picks this summer. How do you see the future of this team?

SM: I think we’re in a rebuilding process right now. They’re getting rid of a lot of the older people and bringing a lot of younger people. We’re trying to start young.

You have played more of a complete game this season. You are in the Top 20 in 15 different statistical categories. Did you go into the season with certain goals in areas where you felt needed improvement?

SM: I just wanted to get better… Most of the plays are the same from last year but I got a couple of new ones now since the coaching change… I just went in like I wanted to get better, and I’m just trying to get better every year…

Statistically you are up there with the elite in this league. You are one of six players to averaging more than 18 points and ten rebounds a game (Elton Brand, Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan are the others), yet you don’t seem to get the national recognition that others get. Why do you think that is?

SM: I don’t know… You said it, 18-10, how many small forwards are averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds? Only one… I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and sooner or later they’ll come around, but I’ve just got to keep working hard and trying to get better.

To what do you attribute your recent surge in production?

SM: Just my teammates… Steph has been playing really well and Big Jake (Tsakalidis) has been creating a lot of havoc out there because the attention has been mostly around me and Steph… Now Big Jake has been stepping up and everyone’s been coming off the bench playing well for us… Everybody’s been giving me the ball where I can put it in the hole. That’s what counts right there.

You attended a Junior College Tournament with Vincennes here in Phoenix in 1997 that seemed to open the Suns eyes to what you could do. What do you remember about that tournament?

SM: I was killing that tournament, we didn’t win it, but I was killing that tournament… [The Suns had] been following me for awhile before that I think. They were good friends with my junior college coach, Coach (Dan) Sparks, so I’m sure they were at plenty of games, I just didn’t know they were there… But that was a big tournament for me.

What has been the biggest surprise for you as you wind up your third season as a professional basketball player?

SM: The adaptation of everything that helps a franchise, you gotta get used to things happening in a franchise that you don’t want to happen, but it just happens because it’s business… You have to expect the unexpected. A lot of things are just learning experiences. Some people are not made for this league, you see it a lot, you come in and you can be right back out… So when you get here you have to do the things to stick around.

Steven Koek is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com

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